Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Kinda In The Halloween Spirit

Deutsch recently created a new site for the Bronx Zoo that allows you to "build your wild self". It's really cool and educational. Given that many children will be dressing up as lions and tigers and bears and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I figured the connection was strong enough to post. Plus, I just signed up for the beta version of Mixaloo, a site that "makes the mix tape digital" and decided to make my first mix Zoo-inspired. The cover art is my Wild Thing and the songs are about animals in some form or another. I don't think I'll be making much money (getting many points) from people purchasing it, but that wasn't the point of doing it anyway. (It's all about objectives, right? I'm saying that way too often lately.) They make it really easy to share and that's smart.

Oh, and on the subject of music, something else interesting is that Paste Magazine has recently taken Radiohead's pricing-power-to-the-people approach. Limited time offer, so cheapos get on it quickly.

No Flu Shot For Me

Just Soup. The results are in and the decision is made. I don't know who voted but I know how many people did (7 people) and where they were from (three from NY, one from CT, one from MA, one from MN, one from KS). Just in case anyone else has the November 1st freebie at his or her j-o-b and is looking for the wisdom of crowds. Assuming the people who responded aren't some crazy glue-sniffers like the tooth fairy. I mean, you let these people vote on your blog once and that's all it takes. Next thing you know, your daughter is knocked up and there is change missing from your dresser. I have seen it happen a million times. On second thought...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Inbox of Immaturity

This may get taken down but won't get old.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Music, Sports, and Advertising Collide!

Maybe it's because I still get pumped up from the Nike Football commercial with the Last of the Mohican's track on it a few months later. I actually seek it out to watch it every once in a while. Maybe it's because when I went to get some empanadas for lunch today, Phil Collin's "In the Air Tonight" came on and then I thought of the Cadbury ad with the gorilla drumming, which made me think of the Phoenix Suns mascot. Or maybe it's because I just briefed for a Sheraton spot promoting their NCAA sponsorship and, if possible, incorporating the song they have used in the past, for which we recently just renegotiated the rights.

Whatever the case, sometimes when these three things—advertising, music, and sports—come together something special happens. When watching some uploaded amateur videos from (my alma mater) Georgetown's Midnight Madness, I came across this one below (introducing our center, Roy Hibbert). I couldn't help but thank advertising for making it possible.

No, not for making Roy's return to G-town possible (he came back for his final year even though he could have possibly been a lottery pick in the NBA this summer - you can see in the jumping around in the stands how much he loves being in college). Rather for giving students and all our fans the ammo/inspiration to show their appreciation, enthusiasm, and love together, chanting, "Roy, Roy, Roy, Roy..." Because without advertising, bringing Roy out to the Eye of the Tiger would not have never happened.

The video does also seem to make a compelling case for regular-people-made-ads. I mean, you put a swoosh at that end of this footage, and I'm sold - on my way out to cop some new Nike kicks.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Paradox of Choice

Rob Fields makes some great posts on Marketing Pop Culture, a site I was reintroduced to by Chet's blog this morning. Now this is a heavy one for a Friday, but incredibly interesting and worthy food for thought going into the weekend. We spend a lot of time considering/debating the paradox of choice in our lives. In the marketing world especially. For less price sensitive consumers especially. For the rich and famous definitely...or not so.

In the video below, Jay Smooth tackles the current T.I. situation by drawing upon what he's learned from his involvement in helping youth at group homes. In doing so, he helps us understand the psychology of rappers. I'll let him doing the talking - he's incredibly in-touch and compelling - but highlight the part I found so interesting: When you go from having no options for so long, it's harder to see all the options around you when you finally get them. So before writing off T.I. for his stupidity, consider this:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Improv of Immaturity

No that's not a typo. Replacing the normal shenanigans is this, may I say awesome, prank by the group Improv Everywhere.

No words will do this justice. I'm just here to make sure you get to bask in the glory that is 111 shirtless dudes punking my favorite brand as a 16 year old, Abercrombie & Fitch. Look out for the single this winter, "I like boys that wear..." And then the rebuttal No Pigeons - oh wait, mixing up references. Anyway, check it out as reported by Gothamist.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day: greenmail

Every week or so since April 22, my friend Kim has sent out an email with, in her words, "some little easy thing you can do to help out the environment." This week she sent the group #25. In honor of Blog Action Day, a movement set up by a few bloggers, which asks bloggers to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment - by posting about it TODAY, I'm going to post Kim's first twenty-five green tips.

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

25. Don't eat Chilean Sea Bass. Here's a list of the best and worst fish to eat for the environment (and your health).
24. Use coasters made of sandstone, and other absorbent materials so you don't have to wipe down tables. You'll save lots of paper.
23. Go to the local farmers' market. The produce is better and they don't use fertilizers or pesticides which suck up more than 30% of the energy used to make food.
22. Move to Eugene, Oregon. Hydroelectric and wind power contribute over 85% of Eugene's power, the city has biodiesel and hybrid fleets, and a really concerted effort and evaluation of all city activities for environmental impact.
21. Get one organic pair of jeans. The chemical process used to create soft, stonewashed jeans contaminates the water in Central Mexico (where more than 700 clothing manufacturers sell jeans to the U.S.).
20. Use ECOTAINERS. If your company or workplace has a kitchen and stocks it with paper cups, check and see how eco-friendly they are. There are cups called ECOTAINERS that are bought in bulk by companies and that are 100% compostable and biodegradable.
19. Seek out bamboo. For furniture, sheets, whatever. It's a super eco-friendly material, the grass is renewable and very kind to the earth.
18. Buy a digital red bulb thermometer. Avoid the silver mercury bulb ones as mercury is a debilitating nerve toxin for your body and the environment.
17. Offset carbon emissions with Terrapass. It does a lot of other great things too, like funding clean weddings, car stuff, etc.
16. Search with Blackle. Powered by Google, it saves energy with a black screen.
15. Turn your receipts over and use the blank backs for notes. Then recycle.
14. Swap one product this week for a better earth-friendly product. Swap a
toothpaste, dish-washing detergent, or snack (organic licorice weirdly good).
13. Dust the little vents in your a/c, and you'll save energy and money.
12. Turn your cell phone off when you're not using it (especially when you go to sleep at night).
11. Try an activity/sport that puts you smack in the dab of mother nature.
10. Plant a tree in someone's memory.
9. Don't over-consume. Throwing away 2 aluminum cans wastes more energy than 1,000,000,000 of the world's poorest people use a day.
8. Recycle more than cans and paper. Recycle your computer/laptop by giving it to charity, instead of throwing it away. The National Cristina Foundation will hook up your old PC or Mac with a nonprofit organization. You can also drop off your old cell phone at your local Staples store as part of a Sierra Club recycling effort.
7. Say bye-bye to junk mail here and save our forests.
6. Pat yourself on the back this week for being a part of this email (or reading this far down the list in this case) and doing your bits to make our world better.
5. When ordering take-out or getting food delivered, request no napkins or plastic utensils, unless you really need them.
4. When traveling, turn off your a/c when you check out of your hotel room.
3. Send potted flowers. Cut flowers dispose quickly. A greener option is to send potted flowers because they last longer, improve indoor air quality and can be self-watering.
2. Eat one less meat meal this week. Animal farming consumes tons of energy and water, is a growing source of pollution and leads to land degradation. Eat some sushi or a veggie burger.
1. Use a front loading washing machine when doing laundry. It uses way less water than a top load.

Even if you only incorporate 5 of these 25 suggestions into your life, you are starting to make environmentally-friendly changes/choices. Little things matter, especially when large amounts of people do them. Pass it on. Thanks Kim.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Design Based On Insight

As I sit on my couch multi-tasking (watching World Series of Poker, writing a brief, eating dinner, and making my way through my feeds), something clicks (pun intended). My coffee table is pretty bare (with feng shui in mind but mostly for aesthetic purpose). I've got a candle and a couple books and magazines that make me look interesting and well-rounded. Oh yeah, and my Time Warner Cable remote. Necessary ugly. ("Uglies" for the many people who don't have the universal remote and are still working with one TV remote for the power ON and OFF, one for the channels, a remote for the stereo, another for the DVD player, and who knows what else.) Necessary ugly - or so I thought.

I came across this link from Russell Davies' delicious feeds. The choose to use design to solve the problem of remotes getting lost. So they made a remote that's really fragile, so you won't toss it around/you'll take better care of it and thus not lose it. The brief could easily have been: Remotes ruin the living room look.

It reminds me of Method's insight into cleaning: People squeeze cleaning in between doing other things, so having to go into cabinets and search for cleaning products wastes time and is a part of the annoying process. So they designed their soaps, etc. to look nice so that people would keep them on their kitchen counters/out next to their sinks. Just a reminder of how design is a powerful tool for building insight in products.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Natalie Knows...

How I feel right now...yes, I'm torn.

Last night when catching up on some industry porn at Agency Spy, I made it to a post entitled, The Best Ad We've Seen In Forever. That piqued my interest. Here it is:

My reaction was a mix of "Awesome-I've seen this before-Love that Toyota didn't have to tag it-I've seen this before somewhere else not just Nessy spot-Leeroooyyy Jeeennnkins-Awesome." Yes, I immediately made the connection to this YouTube classic and the comments showed that I wasn't the only one. But unlike me, they didn't say awesome; they called it a "complete rip-off."

Between this and the recent rip-off claims against Sony Bravia's Bunnies, I have had to take a step back and figure out what I believe in the space of creativity. I don't think there's no such thing as an original idea solves it, and I don't thinking going back to Kindergarten rules (it's simple, don't steal!) adds anything to the debate. Nor does it help me understand why I'm annoyed at Sony and not Toyota. In my mind, both are equally obvious in their connection to the original.

Note: I'm not saying blatant in copying but obvious in where they drew inspiration. Thus, I'm basing my case mostly to the source of inspiration and the rights each source has to what they have to what they've created (in other words, this isn't 'Nam there are rules).

In Sony's case it's artists (Kozyndan) who makes their living creating art and has rights to it whereas in Toyota's case it's a gamer (Ben Schulz) who recorded some silliness and put it up on YouTube.

However, what I'm realizing as I'm writing is that I'm actually reacting to lying. I don't really give a shit about the line between being inspired by and stealing. I just don't believe them (Sony/Fallon/Passion Pictures). If they'd come out and say "we're created something that drew inspiration from a variety of sources, one of which is Kozy and Dan just like Kozyndan is inspired by things (Hokusai) created by others," I'd have more respect for them. If Toyota is asked about their new spot above and claim originality, I will be equally as angry.

Ultimately, I think both companies/agencies should be honest and involve inspirer's from the get-go. If Toyota had reached out to Ben, involved him in the process—creating more, new, better, deeper content as well as links to his viral video—and compensated him fairly for it, they would see a greater ROI for it.

Guess I'm not so torn anymore...just waiting for Toyota to not to lie.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Inbox of Immaturity

It's been a while since you got your fill. The theme of the past two weeks was clearly throwback tracks and flicks. Here are the things that flooded my inbox, IM, and message board from friends.

First, this Duran Duran Rio seems like a bit of rebelling against the end of summer unless he started here with this Bruce Campbell Duran Duran cover for Old Spice and worked his way back.

Regardless, I don't know what kind of search led to this Swayze number but it could have led in two directions - Hasselhoff eating a cheeseburger off the ground or late 80s-early 90s movies around the time of Ghost's release. I'm happy to inform that in this case, the road less traveled was coming to America - watch and let your Soul Glo and the state of Johnny Utah - see Point Break Live

And though the final numbers may seem a bit random—The Aliens Robot Man and Night Ranger Sister Christian—well, they are random. Enjoy.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Triple C

Nope, I didn't mean Triple A for you non-advertising peeps. Nor did I mean the Three C's for you hardcore marketing peeps (Company, Consumer, Competition). Nor did I mean the new school Three C's (Content, Context, Community) for digital peeps. Nor did I mean the Three C's for making up your showroom (Clean, Clutter-free, Creative). Nor did I mean the Triple Lindy.

This is about Cataloging Cool Communications. These have all been written about last week or so, but wanted to post them here in case you hadn't seen all or any. First, some highly anticipated advertising from Sony Bravia and Dove.

Next, an interesting a smart move by man and brand, Marc Ecko. He won the auction for Barry Bond's record-breaking home run ball, which put him at the center of the biggest sports debate of the year (at the very least). He democratized the decision and the people have spoken: Send it to Cooperstown with an asterisk on it. Once again, Marc has created pop culture.

Lastly, really cool partnership that produced a Microsoft Wine. Stormhoek has created a product called Blue Monster just for Micorsoft employees with the tag "Change the world or go home." That's one way to change perceptions of outsiders and rally the people within.

That's all for now. Hope to have a more thoughtful post later.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

How To Review An Ad

Here is the presentation I gave to Georgetown MBA's tonight. I think it went over well. I thought it would upload the PowerPoint notes automatically but it seems that it didn't so I'm going to work on getting the speaking points/details on there. Either way, it was a great experience and hopefully the attendees learned something new. Writing this thing from scratch over the last couple weeks was really enjoyable, and I know it could be better so any feedback you all have is more than welcome. Good luck to all the grad students going to Houston this weekend, and once again please let me know if you have any questions, thoughts, or requests.